tv KQED Newsroom PBS July 26, 2014 2:00am-2:31am PDT
next on kqed newsroom, darrell steinberg talks about what he learned on his trip to central america to meet about immigration and other issues. and as the president weighs in on the tens of thousands of children crossing the u.s. boarder, what does it mean for bay area schools, service providesers and courts. a look at thet appointees and w they are changing the face of the court system. i'm here at the academy of sciences where they returned to a place they call the twilight zone. we'll take you on a tour of the incredible discoveries.
good evening and welcome to kqed newsroom. i'm thuy vu. many youths make their way to the bay area. today president obama met with the presidents of guatemala, honduras and el salvador to talk about a humanitarian crisis. since october, nearly 60,000 miners from that region have entered the u.s. some were seeking refuge from violence and poverty. scott shafer spoke with state senate darrell steinberg and justrg returned this week.
>> senator steinberg, good to have you with us, welcome. >> good to be with you, scott. >> you spent nine days with colleagues. what did you learn that you didn't already know? >> i think i learned a great deal, but mostly reenforced what i already believed which is that there are really two issues here. one is how do we help the kids who have made this paraous journey who are seeking asylum because of gangs and risk of violence, how do we make sure we protect the children? that's one. number two, the trip reinforced my belief that the long-term solution to this crisis is to address the underlying economic and security conditions within these countries because unless and until we prudently invest in improving the education system and economies of el salvador and
honduras, this is going to continue because kids and their parents are making this journey in the end for one reason, they want a better life and unless we address that, i fear that it is going to continue over the long term. >> yet many people may hear that and think we have plenty of education problems here in california. we have failing schools. we have millions of children and families living in poverty. what are the limits of our generosity? >> well, there are limits but let me give you an example where we are being generous but maybe we ought to think of it as a bit of a down payment or model. when we were in el salvador, the state -- the united states had offered the salvor government $3 million of aid through a
challenge grant, to provide more vocational education opportunities in audition to economic development for infrastructure. the government said that they wanted the money, but the united states insisted that el salvador pass an anti money laundering law. there is a lot of back and forth on that and our delegation reinforced with the government including the president of the parliament they must find a way to get that money because they had to -- if we were offering to help them improve their country, they had to find a way to take it. >> closer to home, though, the attorney general is trying to get probono attorneys to go down to the boarder and act as immigration attorneys for these kids, presumably to help them get asylum. do you think apart from what is happening and being done in those countries, should we allow
and help these kids to stay here in our state? >> i believe we should. in fact, a couple of my lead staff attorneys are going to volunteer and represent some of these kids. look, my view is that a kid is a kid is a kid. regardless of their immigration status and it's easy to poll lit size the children. think of what it takes for a parent and/or child to decide to make this journey, this dangerous journey on top of trains, hiring these coyotes to come to this country. they must be pretty desperate and they must want a better life and i think we have a long history of immigration where all immigrants, people came, my ancestors came. this is a different way and certainly, we need federal immigration reform, and there needs to be control in each case needs to be decided on merits
but i would go on the side of giving them opportunity. >> thank you for joining us. >> thank you, thank you, scott. and joining me now to discuss this issue further are san francisco immigration judge dana marks, president of the national association of immigration judges. debra saunders, san francisco ch chronicle conservative and editor. ian, we just heard from darrell stein burg but today president obama told the leaders of the three central american countries that most of the children crossing the boarder will not be allowed to stay. do you think that that message is likely to stem the tide of unaccompanied minors? >> i don't. think the obama administration is trying to do what they can by putting adds for example on television in central america
and producing music to play on the radio anti migration, you know, have an anti migration message but i think these tactics really don't work. if we're thinking about this as a humanitarian issue, kids aren't going to be dissuaded by that and families aren't, either. >> debra, is it a humanitarian issue? are children fleeing violence and crime and poverty or are they here for family reunfa case? >> i think both. we know there are a number of children that are afraid they will be killed and they are coming for refuge and that's something this country ought to do and must do but we also know the ambassador to the u.s. from el salvador said basically, part of what we're seeing is upward mobility of immigrants that have enough money to send for kids and we know a lot of kids are coming over to be with their families d i understand why they want to do it, but it's
economic. it's not just fleeing violence. you've got two things going on. you've got horrible crime and kids who are running off but then there are also people who basically, you know, it's interesting. the president says don't come here, you won't be allowed to stay but you will. kids will come across the boarder. they are unaccompanied minors. if they have family, they will be send near their family. they will be told they are supposed to come to court. they know the court date will be a long time, what's the average wait? 5 80 days? >> if the president can say don't come you can't stay but what kids are seeing and families are seeing yeah, you can stay for a long time. >> judge marks, why does it take so long? you know, your organization has issued a position paper on this and the average number of days for a pending case before reaching a decision is 578 days.
>> for years the national association of immigration judges has been the cbird in th coleman saying you can't have immigration without giving it to the courts because we're part of it. we have got something like 2% of the money that goes to immigration enforcement. what concerns me here is that the immigration courts are the faces of american justice that these foreign board individuals see and often the only face of the united states government that they are going to see. if we are trying to promote america as an example to the world, we need to walk the walk. we should not be cutting rights to people at a time that it is inconvenient to us. the time is instead, or what the times call for is that we should reinforce our legal structures by giving adequate resources to the judges to let them do their job and to let them do it in a reasonable amount of time. sufficient time for children to be able to get advocates to help represent them or adults to
speak on their behalf and to hear the circumstances of their cases and decide not in the press, but in the courts whether or not they have claims for asylum. >> so what are, explain to us the process, what are the criteria to be granted asylum in this country? >> asylum is not a straightforward piece of law to explain. you have to show past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution. it has to be by the government or a group that the government cannot control, but it also has to be tied on one of five statutory grounds and four of them are pretty straightforward and easy to understand. that's race, religion, nationality, or political opinion. but the fifth ground is membership in a particular social group and that is a traditional ground in international law but the way american law works is we decide what that term means by case by
case adjudication and the outer margins of what that means for victims of gang violence are still being developed in the courts and there is only so fast any of us can go without causing cases to become a log jam of appeals that will end up being counterproductive for those who want quick enforcement. it has to be a balance between efficiency and fairness. >> i have a question. a child today who is an unaccompanied minor is sent to san francisco, that child will have a date to see you. what are the chances of that child showing up? >> the statistics vary on that and we frankly don't have good statistics. we do know that the chances of them appearing are heightened tremendous hen douly when they legal counsel. there are issues to whether notification is proper to these children because three government agencies are involved. they have to deal with the office of refugee resettlement that helps place them with
individuals. they have to deal with the department of homeland security -- >> are half likely to show up. >> and they have to deal with the court. >> let me ask you this because, you know, all of this is swirling and meanwhile, these kids have to go somewhere and we're seeing them in the bay area, we're seeing them in san francisco, we're seeing them in oakland and ian, you've been covering this. what is happening to them when they get here? >> if i may for a minute, i don't mean to steal your time but administration shifted priorities and they are being brought into court within 21 days. >> okay. so now you can answer. >> one of the questions -- >> well, part of that, there are some stats on that and 70% of kids show up to the first hearing and then it goes down from there. but many kids, particularly as judge marks said, many kids with counsel are showing up and continue to show up for many hearings. in terms of what is happening to kids that get here, i was just talking to the principal of oakland international high school and she was telling me
that 140 kids, just in oakland, have arrived in the last six months or so, so those kids are going to be in the school system. oakland has 400 kids. so 140 will go there. they will get absorbed into the whole school system. a lot of these kids are coming with trama, varying levels of education. some have never been to school. some students that i met at san francisco international high school had gone to school for a year, two years and are in high school in san francisco. there are a wide range of kids who are coming and we have a wide range. that's something we need to talk about more from the summer into the fall. >> are there special services put in place to deal with that? >> there are some schools that have the ability to deal with some of these kids but they are not big schools. what is happening at bigger schools and kids not getting the services is still a question.
>> so judge marks, it's obviously from what you've been telling us is that you're under staffed. there is a huge backlog of cases, nearly 400,000 according, what do you want to see happen at this point. >> we believe the size of immigration should basically be doubled and it would be ideal for cases to be heard, say, within an eight-month to 1 12-month general window. sufficient time for people to get resources together, find an attorney, get the documentation and witnesses they need to present their case and then to be able to present it within that time frame. but, the way you need to do that is to hire more immigration judges because there simply is not space on the docket to do th that. >> that's a long-term approach. it doesn't seem to be dying d n down. >> what do you want to see done?
>> we have to take care of children that come across the boarder, there is no question about it. the pictures you showed, it's heart breaking. i mean, so we look at washington and we're waiting for washington to do something and i really do not know what we're going to see happen. on one hand, president obama talked about changing the 2008 law that basically is part of the reason we have this system, the law passed by congress and signed by president bush. but now democrats are saying that they don't want to change it. republicans are saying they want to change it and deport children back to guatemala and honduras and el salvador more quickly. i don't know what will happen. >> in the meantime, congress is due to go ono summer break late next week. who knows what will happen. thank you. >> i have to stop you there because we're out of time. debra saunders with the san francisco chronical and judge dana marks with the immigration judges and ian gordon with mother jones. thank you-all.
>> thank you. at the top of the show we talked with darrell steinberg about immigration, his name is being talked about as a possible appointee to the california supreme court. governor jerry brown made two appointments already and has at least one more coming. this week he nominated to the high courts known by tino, he is a well-respected academic but has no judicial experience. scott shafer joins me now. the governor's nomination to the supreme court, it's remarkable for a number of reasons and including the fact that immigration is in the news this week. >> absolutely. it's an appointment full of symbol symbol and substance. he's not only latino but born in mexico. he's animmigrant.
he walked across the boarder as a kid. he want to harvard, yale, got his doctorate at stanford where he teaches. with all these issues in the news and in front of the courts, it is full of symbolism and significant. >> he's young and married to another judge. they are legal power couple. >> right, she's on the first district and presided over big cases involving samsung and apple, patent cases and that thing. he is judge as lou appointed by governor brown, the former cal law professor. he'll be around for awhile and certainly is going to add luster, i think, to the court. >> both of them are in their early 40s. neither one had experience on the bench. what's the significant of that? >> governors and presidents tend to pick appeal's court justices and elevate them. jerry brown clearly has a different way of looking at the court. i was talking with gerald almond
today and he said appeals court judges seem to be consecutive and confirm 85, 90% of the cases. law professors look at the big picture and think outside the box and may be more questioning the status quo. it makes for perhaps a more interesting member of the california supreme court. >> there is one more opening down the pipeline, one more increase. what did darrell steinberg's chances to becoming nominate snd. >> he said his name is kicked around, i believe he would like to be on the court. here is the problem for him. governor brown knows him, probably respects him. there is no african american on the court, either. frankly, there is no southern california members of the supreme court so my guess is that the governor will look first to an african american like martin jenkins on the court and someone down south with geographic diversity.
also, i would be just guessing, i wonder if he would appoint a third person with no judicial experience, maybe not. >> the governor made appointments to the lower courts, is there a theme emerging based on what you're seeing there and his recent appointments to the state supreme court? >> the governor liked first, he appointed the first latina gu judge, the first openly gay judge, the first lesbian judge, first is a big thing for him. he's also -- he thinks outside the box. he's appointed a lot of public defenders, defense attorneys, public interest lawyers, most governors in the past have really stacked the courts with prosecutors and district attorneys. so the governor is really diversifying the court, not only in terms of race and gender, but also in term ths of experience. >> so just real quickly, what kind of impact do you think it will have in the long-term?
>> in the short-term it gives appearance. in the long term, the supreme court is the final say so as a more liberal majority with his next appointment kicks in, you may see the impact of those decisions in the future. >> and the nation will be watching because it is arguably one of the most influential state courts in the country. >> yes, absolutely. >> scott, thank you. well, researchers from the california academy of sciences in san francisco recently returned from another expedition to the island passage in the philippines. it's a place they call the center of the center of marine bio diversity. more unique marine species live in the spot and new discoveries are in display. we begin the story where the journey started in the philippines. ♪ ♪ >> the dive gear is prepped and
the crew sets out to explore a place never before seen by human eyes. >> the ocean has a lot of space that's unexplored but this is one of the most unexplored spaces. >> bart sheppard is the director of the aquarium in san francisco and part of a team of specially trained scientists studying an area of the ocean usually out of reach. they call it the twilight zone. >> the area where we've been doing exploring is in the range of, say, 250 to 500 feet deep. >> that's an area that not a lot of people have bothered to explore. >> it's very true. that's simply because you can't reach it with normal scuba diving equipment, with the typical scuba diving equipment and if you're going to go through the expense of getting a sub or rov you're going really deep. it remained unexplored for many, many years.
>> they call it the twilight zone because it's where sunlight begins to dissipate and remains shrouded in mystery. more people have been to the moon than have dived on these reefs and what scientists are learning, is this area is teaming with life. it's been estimated the researchers are discovering up to ten new species per hour in the twilight zone. the divers' voices are changed by the helium gas mix they inhale through the closed circuit rebreather system. this technology allows them to stay under water for more than five hours, allowing them to go deeper and work longer. through a special collection permit from the philippine government, some of the new found species were brought back alive to california for further study. they are housed at the stenhouse
akw aquari aquarium. where are we? >> the public is on the other side of the wall and this tank here is a tank that houses many corals we brought back from the most recent trip. >> wonderful, such as. >> deep water corals out here, hard corals and some black coral that we brought back which i collected and some of my colleges collected at 250 to 400 feet deep. this is our aquarium holding room. this is a room we built. perfect time for us to bring back animals from the philippines. >> how many species did you store in here? >> about 15 different species, 25, 30 fish that were in here that were held for about 30 days in a quarantine situation. that's just to make sure we protect our existing collection, that we don't allow animals being brought into the building to introduce pests or diseases or parasites that would impact our living collection. >> do you have species that
you're still holding here? >> we do. we have a number of things that are part of on going research projects, so if you look down here in these two containers, you'll see small octopus in here. they are coco nut octopus. they are part of a research project we've been working on for a few years. we were the first aquarium to display them. we perfected the transport techniques to get them back with 100% survival. we're very interested in the octopus and relatives and have done a lot of work with these in recent years. >> now, many new species of fish, coral and others are on display. aquarium visitors are treated to a unique view of the mysterious ocean planet. some are displayed here in the public area. >> absolutely. a lot of them are. this is a tank called deep reef and it houses animals we collected in the twilight zone of the philippines.
>> what are we looking at? >> a number of species of fish in here we call fairy bass, personal favorite of mine. there are three individuals in there and a little raft and that's a whole family of fish, very diverse family of ilsh. there is one in here that i collected myself almost 300 feet. >> tell me what we're looking at here. >> these bright orange fish that you see, they are called flasher and the male is the bigger more colorful one there. they call them that because he has really gorgeous colors and big fins but doesn't show them off. he comes up and all of a sudden, a quick peak and then he puts them away and that's part of their social structure and the communication they have between each other, individuals, males and females, males and other males. this is the philippine coral reef. this is a center piece exhibit. this is the largest and deepest
indoor coral reef in the world. we've been developing this now for seven years, eight years. we model this after two or three different dive sites we regularly visit when we go to the philippines. when you look into this tank, what you're seeing is close to 2,000 individual fish in here representing more than 100 species and that's impressive, however, it's probably 1/5th of the diversity. >> why is this work so important to you? >> i'm fairly confident unless we radically change changes, we'll see a greater risk to coral reefs and that could be lost. i want to sustain that. p i want to explore that and show that to the people of the earth come here to the academy to see these beautiful animals that exist no place else on the planet.
the following production was produced in high definition. and their buns are something i've yet to find anywhere else. >> cause i'm not inviting you to my house for dinner -- >> -- breaded and fried and gooey and lovely. >> in the words of arnold schwarzenegger - i'll be back! >> you've heard of connoisseur -- i'm a common-sewer! >> they knew i had to ward off some vampires or something. >> let's talk desserts gentlemen, cause i see you